In April 2017, PEA launched Solarize Philly, the first citywide solarize initiative. Solarize campaigns allow a group of homeowners to install solar together at a reduced price. The more households moving forward, the lower the cost for all participants.
As of July 2017, more than 1,500 households have expressed interest in participating in Solarize Philly from across the city. SIGN UP FOR MORE INFORMATION AND A FREE ASSESSMENT. (HERE)
How does Solarize Philly work?
PEA selected participating solar companies in June 2017 through a careful vetting process. They include Solar States, Kiss Electric and Moore Energy. All three companies have committed to the same pricing, equipment specifications and quality and processes. They will reduce the price of rooftop solar further and further as more households sign up. PEA recently closed an RFP for solar equipment manufacturers and distributors to negotiate further equipment discounts across the program to further drive down costs. We ensure that selected installers are reputable, contracts are standardized with key consumer protections, and equipment is high quality with appropriate warranties.
The initial signup period will open July 1, 2017 and run through September 30, 2017. Interested homeowners get a free solar assessment and project quote. If they choose to move forward, their final price will be discounted based on the final number of sign-ups.
PEA will help the developers keep the costs low by bundling neighborhood installations, reducing marketing and outreach costs, and working with the Office of Sustainability, L&I and PECO to keep the process moving as quickly as possible. We will also work with developers and lenders to provide financing when needed.
Going solar through Solarize Philly helps fund solar training at the School District of Philadelphia and helps low and moderate income (LMI) families in Philly go solar too. Sign-ups for interested LMI households will open this fall.
What will Solarize Philly accomplish?
By solarizing 500 homes, we will:
- Increase solar power on Philadelphia rooftops by 2.5 megawatts, or a 25% increase
- Subsidize over 100 low and moderate income households to install solar on their own rooftops (increasing low and moderate income participation in solar by over 250%)
- Expand solar job training programs into Philadelphia public schools
- Create 75 good, living wage jobs
We are starting this summer with a 6-week Intro to Solar Installation program at the School District. Moving forward, we hope to be able to offer a solar installation elective with the School District this fall, building off of Youthbuild’s existing solar training program. We will also work with other partners citywide to identify, support and promote opportunities for adult solar installer training.
Why hasn’t solar already taken off in Philly?
First, Pennsylvania doesn’t provide any tax incentives and has a very poor market for renewable energy credits, so the cost here is higher than in other states.
Second, the permitting process with L&I and interconnection process with PECO has been long and difficult. In the last year, the Office of Sustainability has worked with L&I to create a streamlined solar permitting process, and PECO has taken enormous strides to staff up and test new interconnection technology, so both should be hugely improved by this summer.
Third, there’s a lot of consumer uncertainty. Solar is new, can be confusing, and prices can vary dramatically depending on the company, your roof, the equipment you choose, the financing vehicle, and on and on. Solarize Philly will make this much simpler. We will make sure you’re getting the best prices, the right equipment, a fair, clear and easy to understand contract, and will ensure that now is the best time to go solar.
Is this a new concept?
Definitely not. PEA is building on the success of solarize programs across the country, and even here in our own backyard with Solarize Greater Media, Northwest Philadelphia Solarize Coalition and Solarize Center City. Successful solarize programs have been completed in Portland, OR, New York City, Westchester, NY, Western Pennsylvania (Solarize Allegheny), Northern Virginia, Michigan, Rhode Island and many more places.
In partnership with the School District’s Career and Technical Education program, PEA is launching the first solar installation training program to be offered by Philadelphia public schools. The program will debut this summer as a 6-week WorkReady Philadelphia course called “Find Your Power.” Young people from across the city will participate in the class, which will run July 10th – August 15th in Benjamin Franklin High School’s Renewable Energy Lab.
Sign up to learn more!
If you are interested in installing solar on your roof through Solarize Philly, sign up here.